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SFAA Lecture

  • 21 Feb 2024
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Randall Museum

Professor Tom Madura

Early Release Science with the James Webb Space Telescope: Nested Dust Shells Around the Wolf-Rayet Binary WR 140

Understanding the journey of stellar dust - the collection of heavy elements and formation of complex molecules - is crucial to understanding the later formation of planets, organic compounds and life. How does this dust survive the intense radiation of nearby stars? How do these molecules become distributed throughout the universe? Dr. Madura has been studying recent JWST data from Wolf-Rayet binary star system WR 140, which yields predictable dust-formation episodes every 7.93 years. Indeed, mid-IR spectra indicate ring patterns of carbon-rich molecules surrounding WR 140, giving fresh insight into the formation and survival of carbonaceous dust. Dr. Madura will also bring 3D printed models of MIRI images, which he uses when teaching astronomy to individuals with visual impairments.

Open to the Public and Free